Brokers increase commission transparency
LONG BEACH — Changes enacted Oct. 1 by Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), which shares real estate listings in 23 Washington counties including Pacific, will disclose how much agents representing buyers make when houses are sold.
Coming in response to class-action lawsuits elsewhere in the country, the change will increase transparency in negotiated splits between agents. These have previously been confidential. In theory, this knowledge may empower home sellers to shift part of the standard commission to buyers. And buyers will be better able to see if they are being shown properties based on how much their agent hopes to make on the sale.
“The person going house to house with a would-be homebuyer gets their pay from splitting a commission with the agent representing the seller, who’s usually paid around 5%-6% of the total home price,” the Seattle Times reported on Sept. 30. “But generally, a buyer doesn’t learn how much the seller is offering the buyer’s agent who helps bring home the deal — that figure is hammered out between the seller and the seller’s agent, and then published in the Multiple Listing Service’s database, which is only accessible by real-estate agents.”
The NWMLS told the Times its changes aren’t in response to the allegations of price-fixing contained in the suits. Rather, the organization said in a statement, the litigation “afforded NWMLS brokers the opportunity to review NWMLS rules and improve them to allow brokers to continue to innovate.”
PacifiCorp shifts to solar, wind power
PORTLAND — PacifiCorp on Oct. 3 disclosed its plans to shift more rapidly away from fossil fuels and make more investments in new wind generation and transmission, while adding significant new solar and storage resources.
The 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) can be found at www.pacificorp.com/irp. Some of the plan’s high points include:
• More than 3,500 MW of new wind generation by 2025, including resources acquired through customer partnerships, and a total of more than 4,600 MW of new wind generation by 2038 in Wyoming and Idaho.
• Nearly 3,000 MW of new solar by 2025, including resources acquired through customer partnerships, and more than 6,300 MW of new solar by 2038
• Nearly 600 MW of battery storage by 2025 and more than 2,800 MW of battery storage by 2038
• 1,075 MW of new solar in Oregon paired with 244 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2020 and 2033
• 814 MW of new solar in Washington paired with 204 MW of battery storage, phased in between 2024 and 2036
• To facilitate the delivery of new renewable energy resources to PacifiCorp customers across the West, the plan calls for the construction of a 400-mile transmission line known as Gateway South connecting southeastern Wyoming and northern Utah.
• Of the 24 coal units currently serving PacifiCorp customers, the draft plan envisions retirement of 16 of the units by 2030 and 20 of the units by the end of the planning period in 2038. The unit retirements will reduce coal-fueled generation capacity by nearly 2,800 MW by 2030 and by nearly 4,500 MW by 2038.
Museum celebrates 75,000th visitor
RAYMOND — On Sept. 21 at 3:04 p.m., the 75,000th visitor walked through the doors of the Northwest Carriage Museum.
“We’re so proud to be bringing so many people to Raymond and the surrounding communities,” said Executive Director Laurie Bowman. The lucky visitor was Anastasia Becraft from Mukilteo, Washington, who was visiting the museum along with husband Raymond Becraft IV, and 11-month-old daughter Loretta.
Anastasia was happy to receive a gift basket containing a museum membership, hat, mug and a variety of other local products sold in the museum gift shop. Raymond explained that they stopped by the museum because as a child, he and his father would pass through Raymond on the way to Seaside, Oregon and kid about the town being named after him. He said he always wanted to stop at the museum but never got the chance to visit until Sept. 21 when he and his family took off on their vacation down the Oregon coast. Anastasia was thrilled to learn that she was visitor number 75,000 and said return visits will be planned in the future.
“This museum is incredible,” Raymond said. “Who would have thought such a great museum would be found in such a small little town.”
The Northwest Carriage Museum opened in 2002 with 21 beautifully restored 19th century horse drawn carriages. It currently houses 56 historic vehicles including carriages, wagons, stagecoaches, sleighs, and buggies. The collection is nationally known and considered one of the finest in all of North America. “We can’t wait for number 100,000 to visit a couple of years from now,” Jerry Bowman, museum curator, said.
The museum has become north Pacific County’s largest tourist attraction open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round. Group tours are their specialty. More information can be obtained by visiting www.nwcarriagemuseum.org or by calling 360-942-4150.
New rules coming for Dungeness crab fishery
OLYMPIA — Participants in the Northwest coastal commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Oct. 2 learned the final outlines of required changes to avoid whale entanglements.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has confirmed increases in large whale entanglements along the West Coast in recent years. These include increases in humpback whale entanglements in the coastal Dungeness crab fishery, some of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. In response, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife held a couple of industry workshops to identify and develop proposed rule changes. The proposed rules are available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/development#19-10-059.
Some changes would be implemented from the effective date of the final rule (estimated to be around mid-February), and would remain in place year-round after that. Other changes are seasonal and have specific annual start dates to reduce the amount of crab gear in the water during the time when humpback whales are more common off the Washington coast, and for ease of implementation during this first year.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will be briefed on the proposed changes at their Oct. 18 meeting at the Natural Resources Building in Olympia. Public comment will be taken as part of the October Commission meeting and at a public hearing Nov. 6 at the Montesano City Hall, with details to come. Interested parties can also provide public comment through Nov. 6 by email to Heather Hall at Heather.Hall@dfw.wa.gov or, by mail to PO Box 43152 Olympia, WA 98501.
In brief, the rule changes include:
• Require only the amount of line necessary. Slack line at the surface can increase the risk of entangling whales and this proposed rule change would implement that best practices recommendation through regulation.
• Require line marking specific for Washington to help tell where whale entanglements occur. This proposed rule change would require that line be marked with red in at least two places — at the top near the buoy and at the bottom near the pot — to identify it as gear from the Washington coastal commercial Dungeness crab fishery. WDFW is coordinating the line-marking requirement with the states of Oregon and California. WDFW staff will recommend an effective date of May 1, 2020.
• Reduced pot limit and summer buoy tag (required annually from May 1 of each year, beginning May 1, 2020). The intent of this rule change is to reduce the risk of whales becoming entangled in commercial crab gear by reducing the number of lines in the water during the peak time when humpback whales are abundant off the Washington coast.
• Replacement buoy tags (effective annually from May 1 each year). This rule change will remove the second period for replacement tags, which will not be needed with the new requirement for summer buoy tags in place beginning May 1.